Verizon plans to activate 10 new cell towers

NEW YORK - Representatives from Verizon Wireless announced plans last week to activate at least 10 new cell-phone towers across the North Country this summer.

Verizon spokesman John O'Malley said the towers should be operating by the end of the year.

"We're very excited about these various projects - they will be beneficial to the North Country," he said.

O'Malley wouldn't provide specifics on each location. But he said the new projects will give Verizon 90 cell towers in the company's northern network including 26 cell sites within the Adirondack Park.

Currently, the company has six applications pending with the Adirondack Park Agency. The list includes two towers in the Town of Wells and single towers in Westport, Duane, Wilmington and Queensbury.

One of the company's goals has been to bring better service to the Adirondack Northway. To date, Verizon Wireless has activated four of its planned 13 new sites to bring service to a previously uncovered stretch of Interstate 87.

Marquett Smith, president of Verizon's Upstate New York Region, said the new cell sites reflect the company's commitment to providing reliable wireless service.

"We've taken the lead on expanding wireless service throughout the Adirondack Region, both inside the park and outside," Smith said. "We believe wireless service is essential to the people who lie in the region."

The new towers will provide increased cell phone service, as well as access to Mobile Broadband, Verizon's high-speed wireless Internet service.

In the past 18 months, Verizon has activated 14 sites in the North Country. The new cell towers cost approximately $550,000 a piece, representing an investment of more than $5 million in the region for 2009.

The Adirondack Park Agency has approved plans for a Verizon cell tower designed to look like a large pine tree at Paul Smith's College.

In Keene, crews are preparing to construct a brand-new Verizon tower near the highway sand storage facility off of State Route 73. A second proposal would place an antenna on the Neighborhood House in Keene Valley, although the project has not yet been submitted to the APA.

O'Malley says Verizon plans to invest more than $100 million in the upstate New York network in the coming year.

"We keep adding customers," he said. "So it only makes sense to provide better service moving forward."

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